You might know it as a failing mall in an iffy part of town, but to me it was one of the best places in the world.
My grandmother, Mia, would take me to Eastland Mall when I was a child. It had both an ice skating rink and a pet store. Which meant endless entertainment for me.
Oh, I didn’t actually go ice skating. I was content to watch from the top floor. I could see straight down into the rink. I did attempt to skate myself, once, at age 10 during a friend’s birthday party, and I hated every minute of it. Watching the others skate suited me just fine.
I don’t remember too much about the pet store except doggieeeeeees! More endless entertainment for me. No wonder Mia brought me there.
I went back a few years ago and found it virtually unrecognizable. The main thing missing was the atmosphere, the people – the happy people, that is. There were still people, but there was a dank, depressing vibe among almost everyone there.
So when I heard this week that the mall was in foreclosure and shutting its doors, I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t surprised but I was sad. It’s a reminder that I’m grown up. It’s a reminder that things change.
But in that mall, in my mind, it will always be 1980-something and I will be holding the hand of my 60-something year old grandmother, looking up at her with glee when an ice skater does a particularly good twirl or a big fluffy dog licks my face.